by Gretchen Kinder
Aimlessly: My Adventures in the American Marketplace
By David Brancaccio (Simon and Schuster, 2000)
a host of a public radio program about money, I am asked
all the time what to do with it." So starts
by David Brancaccio, host of "Marketplace,"
produced by Minnesota Public Radio. Intrigued by the ecstatic
financial choices made by many new lottery winners, Brancaccio
undertook ten "pilgrimages" across the United States to
learn more about our nation's cultural and financial ethos.
The result? An amusing, insightful, and engaging book about
money, values, power, and impact.
tells the stories of characters Brancaccio
meets on his trips to a variety of locales, including the
New York Stock Exchange; Levittown, Long Island; the "SRI
in the Rockies" conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; the
Biosphere between Tuscon and Phoenix, Arizona; and the Mall
of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. Brancaccio deftly
weaves together interviews, his own personal reflections,
and economic analysis to challenge popular cultural assertions
about giving, investing, spending, saving, retirement planning,
home ownership, work, earning-and even gambling! At the
end of each road trip (corresponding to the end of each
chapter), Brancaccio presents an economic analysis of each
interviewee's decisions. He also reflects on what he learned
from the trip, and the action steps he is motivated to take
when he returns home.
core of this book is the message that our use of financial
resources-be it the $17,000 Brancaccio himself blew in an
ill-planned venture to launch a foreign news bureau or the
billion dollars that Texas businessman Rod Kennedy lost
running the Kerrville Folk Festival-is intimately related
to who we are as people. To avoid squandering aimlessly,
Brancaccio suggests, each of us needs to take time to figure
out what makes us tick.
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